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I have a problem with the word hope because it is usually associated with unrealistic aspirations, and because the goals are so often unattainable the routes to those goals must also be liable to lead the hope-filled person to failure. Thus the setting of unrealistic goals soon brings the hope filled believer to a life filled with despair. Probably most people realize their otherworldly aspirations are unrealistic, but they grasp after them anyway, because their current life is already overloaded with things that are not working very well. For example, betting on the lottery in the hope of winning a great reward almost always ends up with losing some amount of money, and if the person is already desperately lacking in money, that money gambled away comes from essentials like food and a modicum of economic security.

Perhaps even worse than eating poorly until the next dribble of money comes their way is the continued creation and feeding of a habit that is destroying their relationship with reality. Habits are what make our lives function, but poor habits lead us to failure. Then comes the unrealistic belief that numbing one’s pain with a few drinks will cure the problem, and everything will be okay tomorrow. Unfortunately, one drink is not quite enough to ease the pain and after a couple of years it takes quite a few drinks to feel numb enough not to care about the pain of a ruined life. Perhaps a cigarette will help, after all if one feels good why not have another? And, a little ciggee doesn’t cost much.

A realistic goal with a realistic way to get there isn’t based on hope, it’s based on doing the right things.